Jerry O’Connell’s Funny Memories of a Life on TV

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Jerry O'Connell on Mistresses
Mitch Haaseth/ABC

Jerry O’Connell has racked up a list of television credits that’s as long as it is diverse. Here, the actor takes a stroll down memory lane, sharing the inside scoop on some of his greatest hits…and a couple of amusing misses.

Mistresses, Mondays, 10/9c, ABC

My Secret Identity - Derek McGrath, Jerry O'Connell, Wanda Cannon, Marsha Moreau, Christopher Bolton
Everett Collection

My Secret Identity (1988–1991)

After starring in the 1986 insta-classic film Stand by Me, O’Connell landed the lead in this Canadian kids’ series about a teen who suddenly develops superpowers after being hit by a photon beam. (Cue the cheesy special effects!)

“The show was shot in Toronto, and we didn’t exactly have a Game of Thrones budget,” he says. Still, the series had its followers. “It must’ve been a big hit in Italy, because I still get men in skinny jeans coming up to me and saying, ‘Essscus-a-me, weren’t you…?’”

Jerry O'Connell as Quinn Mallory in Sliders
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Sliders (1995–2000)

O’Connell played a physicist who opens a portal to a parallel universe—forcing himself and his pals to “slide” between worlds. There were shifts behind the scenes too, with cast shake-ups and a move from Fox to SciFi Channel.

“It made me less emotionally attached to jobs,” O’Connell says. The other takeaway? “My hair was crazy! I was thinking, ‘Man, I don’t feel like a quantum physicist.’”

Las Vegas - Vanessa Marcil as Sam Jane, Jerry O'Connell as Woody Hoyt, Jill Hennessy as Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh
Chris Haston/NBC

Crossing Jordan (2002–2007)
Las Vegas (2004–2006)

O’Connell’s Det. Woody Hoyt was the love interest for both forensic pathologist Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessy, right) on Crossing Jordan and casino host Sam Marquez (Vanessa Marcil, left) on its spinoff, Las Vegas.

Crossing Jordan took place in Boston, so it always felt kinda sexy going over to shoot the Vegas scenes,” O’Connell says. And how. During one steamy encounter, “I was living vicariously through my character,” O’Connell admits. “Vanessa is so beautiful! I know it’s make-believe, but I had a tough time differentiating. We got pretty close to second base!”

Jerry O'Connell and Niecy Nash of Do Not Disturb
Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Do Not Disturb (2008)

The Fox sitcom about zany hotel staffers—costarring Niecy Nash (above), Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Dave Franco—checked out after only three episodes.

“I love Niecy, but it probably wasn’t as good as it could have been,” O’Connell says. Upon the show’s cancellation, he made lemonade by pranking a castmate. “I called up Dave pretending to be the head of the network and told him that I wanted him to play Jack Bauer’s new sidekick on 24. I had him going for about 15 minutes!”

Justice League
DC Comics

Justice League (2015 and 2016)

“There’s something so legit about trying to convey a story through just your voice,” O’Connell says of voicing Superman in direct-to-video releases Throne of Atlantis and Justice League vs. Teen Titans. “Plus, my kids thought it was super-cool.” (He and wife Rebecca Romijn, star of TNT’s The Librarians, have twin 7-year-old daughters.)

Besides, nothing beats the rush of fan worship when you’re the Man of Steel. “L.A. Comic-Con was fun as hell. Going there with a superhero movie is rock-star stuff!”
Mitch Haaseth/ABC

Mistresses (2016)

Did O’Connell know what he was getting into when he took the gig as Robert—the hot manny working for single mom Karen (Yunjin Kim, above)—on this female-centric summer guilty pleasure? Abs-olutely!

“There’s a fun gender reversal on that set,” says O’Connell, who also directs two episodes later this season. “They’ll say, ‘Why don’t you try that take again with your shirt off?’ And I’ll say, ‘But we’re in a mall!’”

Hey, at least he has a major advantage over his castmates during the scenes involving an infant. “I’m the only one of us who has children in real life,” O’Connell says. “So I’ll be like, ‘Gimme that baby!’”
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